Environmental and developmental origins of ovarian reserve

Academic Unit of Human Development and Health, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 5YA UK.
Human Reproduction Update (Impact Factor: 10.17). 11/2013; 20(3). DOI: 10.1093/humupd/dmt057
Source: PubMed


BACKGROUND Oocyte number is established early in life before a gradual loss of this ovarian reserve during reproductive life until oocyte
availability becomes limiting at the menopause. Although there is a large genetic component to the ovarian reserve achieved
before birth, other influences including the maternal endocrine and nutritional milieu, and environmental factors may represent
important developmental determinants. Environmental and nutritional factors may also modify the downward trajectory of ovarian
reserve in adult life. The combination of these early and later life influences has the potential to lead to diminished ovarian
reserve, compromising fertility in later reproductive years and altering age at natural menopause.

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Available from: Nick Macklon, Nov 13, 2014
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    • "Consistent with this finding, Artimani et al. (2015) found decreased expressions of estrogen and progesterone receptor subtypes in granulosa cells from women with PCOS. The interaction of the ER and AhR receptor systems can occur in diverse ways (Richardson et al., 2014). AhR can impair ER signaling by binding to ER target gene promoters . "
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    ABSTRACT: Is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) associated with increased serum levels of typical organic pollutants? PCOS in Han females from Northern China was significantly associated with elevated serum levels of pollutants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PCOS is arguably the most common endocrinopathy in females of reproductive age. The etiology of PCOS is thought to be multifactorial. This was a preliminary case-control study undertaken at the Division of Reproductive Center, Peking University Third Hospital. Fifty participants affected by PCOS and 30 normal controls were recruited between August and October 2012 from Northern China. All participants were Han women. PCOS participants were diagnosed according to the 2003 Rotterdam criteria. The control participants were non-pregnant females unable to conceive solely due to male azoospermia. Serum levels of a wide range of organic pollutants, including PCBs, organochlorine pesticides, PAHs and more than 20 phenolic pollutants, were analyzed using gas chromatographic mass spectrometry. Serum levels of PCBs, pesticides and PAHs were significantly higher in the PCOS group than the control group. Concentrations of PCBs, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) and PAHs in serum above median levels were associated with PCOS with odds ratios of 3.81 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.45-10.0], 4.89 (95% CI, 1.81-13.2) and 2.39 (95% CI, 0.94-6.05), respectively. Partial least-squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) confirmed that serum levels of organic pollutants were associated with PCOS, especially for p,p'-DDE and PCBs. Some other possible covariates (e.g. dietary and income) were missed in this study, although education and occupation have been considered as an indicator of personal income. The PLS-DA model allowed a quasi-exposome analysis with over 60 kinds of typical organic pollutants; however, the possibility of other pollutants involved in the PCOS still could not be excluded. Our study identified that bodily retention of environmental organic pollutants-including PCBs, pesticides (especially p,p'-DDE) and PAHs-was associated with PCOS. This research was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China Grants (973 program; 2014CB943203 and 2015CB553401), National Natural Science Foundation of China (21322705, 21190051, 41121004 and 81170538), National Key Technology R&D Program in the Twelve Five-Year Plan (2012BAI32B01) and the Collaborative Innovation Center for Regional Environmental Quality. There are no conflicts of interest to declare. None. This is not a clinical trial. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Human Reproduction
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    ABSTRACT: Background Several studies have shown that exposure to benzene is associated to menstrual disorders, miscarriages and other disorders of the reproductive system. We performed an observational prospective pilot study to evaluate if levels of benzene in follicular fluid were correlated with response to controlled ovarian stimulation. Method Thirty-four normogonadotrophic women undergoing IVF were enrolled. Intra-follicular benzene levels were evaluated by chromatography/mass spectrometry. Based on median benzene level, we divided the study population in two groups: Group A with a “low” intra-follicular benzene concentration (n = 19, benzene <0.54 ng/mL) and Group B with a “high” intra-follicular benzene concentration (n = 15, benzene ≥ 0.54 ng/mL). The ovarian response to gonadotrophins and the outcome of IVF were analyzed in the two groups. Results The two groups did not differ in terms of demographic or anthropometric characteristics. Group B had significantly higher basal FSH levels, lower estradiol peak concentration, and fewer oocytes retrieved and embryos transferred (p < 0.05). Number of gonadotrophin vials, length of controlled ovarian stimulation and ongoing pregnancy rate were similar in the two groups. Conclusion In conclusion, ovarian response to endogenous and exogenous gonadotrophins appeared to be influenced by intra-follicular benzene levels.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Ovarian Research
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    Preview · Article · Oct 2014 · European Journal of Endocrinology
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